Post Script: Bone Ash Sky – Katerina Cosgrove

The Best Contemporary Fiction of 2013 

Bone Ash Sky, Katerina Cosgrove

Bone Ash Sky

Katerina  Cosgrove

Hardie Grant Books




When Anoush Pakradounian steps off a boat and feels the Levantine heat on her cheek like a caress, she thinks she knows what she has come to Beirut to do: bear witness to her long dead father’s trial for war crimes, and discover the truth behind years of secrets and lies.

Yet nothing about her family is black and white. Anoush is poised to unravel four generations of war, genocide, love and renewal amongst the relics of her past.

In 1915 one million Armenians were marched into Syria by the Turkish and killed in the first genocide of the twentieth century. In 1982 Beirut came under Israeli siege for three months with thousands killed. Anoush’s quest for answers is interwoven with the memory of ruined cities and vanished empires: Lake Van before the genocide, Beirut in civil war, Ottoman villas and desecrated churches, Palestinian refugee camps and torture chambers turned into nightclubs. Her search to find out the truth about her father, her grandparents, and her own place in the story spans three generations against the backdrop of war and genocide in the Middle East.

With echoes of Barbara’s Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book, Bone Ash Sky is a powerful work that examines family, loyalty, love, and secrets long-hidden in the chaos and horror of war.

My View:

For once I am speechless, words fail me. I cannot describe how incredibly good this book was to read – the prose so beautiful, the descriptions so eloquent and elegant and then…horrific. Cosgrove is a true storyteller – a master of words, of delicate prose and a teller of three dimensional stories; I could feel the silk, I could see the light refracted in the tulip shaped tumblers ( p.39 ) I can see and hear the death train (p.117) “There was an unfocused brutality in its movements in the sickening, shrill sound of wheels grinding on tracks…People started to scream; at least, those who were still well enough to expend the energy did. She screamed with them. The mechanical movement so final. It was more terrifying than anything else, this fiery beast that held them in its belly.” Echoes of the Holocaust.

I felt the sadness and despair as Lilit tried to think of a way to help the woman with the crying baby p. 117  “She knew the woman’s milk had dried up, knew the baby would soon die. But there was nothing she could do. She thought of latching the baby to her own small breasts, praying milk would come in sympathy, but, somehow, she was too tired. Too sleepy. Too indifferent. Too afraid of what the Turks might do again if they saw her.” Such hopelessness and despair. Such pain.  Then… p.119 “Lilit saw the mother make for a well with the bundle of concealed baby under her arm. She was shaking now, her head jerking from side to side like a hen’s, the movement of her legs spasmodic….In an instant of despair, she dropped her baby like a  wishing stone into the well. He would bring her good fortune. He cried too much. She was too tired to carry him anymore. There was no milk left to give him. She wanted him to drown, have a swifter, easier death.” So emotional, so real, so much pain, so much hopelessness.

It is the hopelessness that struck me more than anything. Having no choices. No existence. The endless cycle of violence based on nothing more than superstition, history, and prior bloodshed.  Where no lessons learned?

Cosgrove states in the opening pages of this novel, “The historic circumstances in this novel are real. Many of the characters are not. This is a work of fiction and liberties have been taken with some dates, events and places.

The author does not seek to blame, defame or offend any race, creed or culture for their beliefs or their past and present actions.  There are no villains in this story – and no heroes either.”

Such a poignant and remarkable multi-layered expose of society – past and present. What has changed? Not a lot. Truly sad, moving and memorable.

Walked, Bathed, Fed, Happy

The two dogs are very content after their morning walk, the bath however was not enjoyed quite so much (the dogs manged to find something gross on their walk to roll in)  so an impromptu  bath outside  was necessary –  buckets of warm water, shampoo and towels… it did the trick. Then a good feed ( finished off with  the egg that feel on the floor) and then a lie down in the sunshine. Sigh…happiness 🙂

Dempsey goes home on the weekend.  Our house will be very quiet without him.

Walked, Bathed, Fed, Happy

Life Is Eventful: How Getting Out There Got Me Here

Change is good.

The Fetch Blog

We’re taught from a very young age that there are certain major life events that will have significant importance and deliver at least a modicum of respect. Being born (though you aren’t quite aware of that one), graduating from college, getting married, having children, buying a house, turning 50, etc. These are the Events with a capital ‘E’.

What no one really tells you, however, is the way the other kind of events will impact your life. These events will present the opportunity for learning, fun, and personal growth. Occasionally they will offer you a few hours of complete anonymity, and with it the extraordinary chance to be whoever you want.

When you scan The Fetch each week, deciding which events you’d like to attend, you never know how they will go. You could meet a new friend, make a new connection that leads to a new job, or find the perfect person with…

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Post Script: Strike Three Your Dead – R. D. Rosen

Strike Three Your Dead
R. D. Rosen
Open Road Integrated Media
ISBN: 9781453290422

Synopsis (Open Road Integrated Media)

A slugger struggles with an empty ballpark and a murdered teammate.
The Providence Jewels, an American League expansion team, have been taking a beating all season. Worse, relief pitcher Rudy Furth has just suffered a beating of a more lethal kind—and been left to die in the clubhouse whirlpool among whispers of mob corruption and violently lovesick fans.

When the police investigation stalls, veteran Providence center fielder Harvey Blissberg, who knew Furth as well as anyone, decides to play detective. While trying to keep his eye on the ball, and his head above water with the spunky, beautiful sports newscaster Mickey Slavin, Blissberg quietly stalks Furth’s killer through major-league locker rooms and the dark streets of Rhode Island’s capital city. Lots of ballplayers keep their batting averages above .300—but how many have chased a murderer at the same time?

My View:

An interesting read, the narrative is well crafted, the characters real and sympathetic. This murder/mystery transcends the world of, or knowledge of, American baseball. I know nothing of baseball and yet was able to enjoy and immerse myself in Harvey Blissberg’s world, hats off to the author for creating such a believable cast and script.

Blissberg is a character we can all identify with – he has strength of mind, determination, he is successful, he is the likable boy next door and a lover and a friend – a complex character. He is driven by the doubt that just maybe he wasn’t the friend that he thought he was that he should have been. His guilt drives him to seek answers that the police have not been able to provide him; Bliss turns detective.

All in all a good read, a  satisfying read and one that leaves you yearning for the further adventures of Harvey Blissberg.

It is hard to believe that this book was written and published so long ago (originally in 1984 by Walker and Company), and won an Edgar Award in 1985 for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. What an accolade. And well deserved. I look forward to discovering the next books in this series and following the adventures of Bliss.

My Work and My New Blog

Hi All

As I may have hinted about this in the past; I work in Australian film and television. These days I predominantly work on documentaries – in various roles – production accounting ( handling the money or lack of 🙂 ), production support, Associate Producer and on the latest job I am  a co -producer. It is the latest job I am most excited about –   I  strongly believe that this film should be made and viewed and  that maybe people power can make changes. More about  the subject of the film later.

I am making this film with a highly regarded and award winning documentary maker Janine Hosking. I have known and worked with Janine for about ten years.  Wish us well in our pursuit.

Thus far the film really has no budget  to speak of – it is being made through the generous donations  from so many people who share in our vision.  This seed funding has allowed us to start up this  production – the story of Angelique Flowers.

Briefly this is our film: 35 Letters

35 Letters- Angelique Flowers

This is the story of an ordinary life with an extraordinary ending Angelique Flowers was the girl next door; the daughter, the sister, the aunty, the student. She loved the Bronte sisters and Shakespeare. She posed for photographs on Oscar Wildes’ tombstone. She baked scones. She watched the Biggest Loser. An aspiring writer, Angelique planned to write a novel.  She wrote letters to her sister Michelle who lives in Canada.  She wrote a total of 35 letters to mark Michelle’s 35th birthday; a birthday she subconsciously knew she would never be able to share with her.  This is a story we share with you, of simple things: of the joy freshly baked biscuits hot from the oven, of clouds, of dreams and family birthdays, of song lyrics that make you laugh, make you cry, of hope and of the joy of the every day.  Angelique alludes to her ill health, she never dwells on it. If you blink you miss the clues….blink again her life is over.

I am just starting a new blog to celebrate the making of the film,  please take a look and follow our journey.

A Bitch Called Hope- Review Goes Australia Wide

I am thrilled to announce that my review of  A  Bitch Called Hope by Lily Gardner is being published by the Australian magazine Good Reading . The review will be included in the June edition of the magazine.

I am so excited. Thanks Lily for writing such a well crafted and engaging read with a strong and likable female protagonist and thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Diversion Books, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel.  Lily I am looking forward to the next installment.